The performance of the industry, as measured by the CEIR Total Index, posted a decent year-over-year gain of 1.8 percent, even though it underperformed the overall macroeconomy.
"The increase in the first quarter supports our prediction that the exhibition industry will finally enter into an expansion phase in 2018 with the Total Index surpassing its previous peak," said CEIR Economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., Chief Economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates, Inc.
Building, Construction, Home and Repair; Industrial/Heavy Machinery and Finished Business Inputs; and Government all registered robust year-over-year gains.
In contrast, Consumer Goods and Retail Trade and Education posted year-over-year declines.
Just one first quarter mega-show that boosted its numbers was CES, the world’s largest consumer technology event, which set a new size record this year with a 2.75 million net square foot expo floor featuring 3,900 exhibitors.
Held Jan. 9-12 at the Las Vegas Convention Center and venues throughout the city, the 51st annual event for the global tech industry attracted more than 175,000 attendees from 150 countries.
In 2017, CES spanned 2.6 million net square feet, with its attendance and exhibitor numbers on par with this year.
All exhibition metrics in the first quarter posted positive year-over-year gains. Real revenues (nominal revenues adjusted for inflation) posted the largest increase of 2.8 percent, followed by net square feet which rose 2.0 percent, whereas attendees and exhibitors gained 1.8 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively.
“The first quarter of 2018 demonstrates that even in times when some sectors may be struggling, the total CEIR Index indicates the exhibitions industry is poised for steady growth,” said CEIR CEO Cathy Breden, CMP, CAE.